Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tyler Bend

My birthday was last weekend. So in honor of my life slowly spiraling down the drain of being a "30-something," I wanted to do something fun. As the big day approached, I made plans with my cousin for a float trip on the Buffalo River. My Aunt and her friend joined in, and we tried to all meet up at Tyler Bend on Friday.

Since this trip involved three Cormacks, the worst of the family luck bubbled up to the surface. The weekend would turn out to be incredibly hot - with highs in the upper 90s. Perfect camping weather!

I took off work on Friday so I could get up to Tyler Bend early enough to claim a camping spot. Last time I tried to camp along the Buffalo River on this weekend, the campgrounds were all full. I managed to get up to the Buffalo before noon, and luckily there were a few vacant campsites left. But most of the good ones were taken, at least, any campsite with a decent amount of shade. I claimed one, and then languished in the hot temps. Luckily the river was nearby, and the water was cold.

My family arrived in the evening, and we got our collection of tents set up. Things cooled off considerably after the sun went down, and it actually got a bit chilly overnight.

I woke up around 5:30am on Saturday morning, and peered through the tent. A heavy fog had drifted over our campground. What to do? Go back to sleep, or try to get a few pictures? I sleepily hauled myself out of the tent and got the camera. As much as I dislike being awake this early, it was good conditions for pictures.

I walked over to the river, which was still and silent in the early morning fog. The only thing making noise were a few birds, and the crunch of my feet walking along the rocks by the river. I strolled along the river, trying to find a good spot to get a picture of the fog and the bluffs.

There was a good spot ahead. But some people who were floating the river had decided to set up camp right along the gravel bar near where I wanted to get pictures. They had literally set up camp right by their canoes, and looked to be sleeping right on the rocky shore of the river. I tried to silently sneak past them, and set up to take this picture...

Next I walked over to a nearby field, where a few hay bales were sitting amongst the fog.


I headed back to the campsite, walking along this path through the woods...

I made it back to the tent, and was able to take a nice little nap. A few hours later, we were at the canoe outfitters. After waiting for a few bus loads of people to be carted away, we were driven to the put-in for our float - Baker Ford. From there we would float for about six miles to Grinders Ferry.

I wasn't brave enough to take my camera onto the canoe. Instead I bought one of those waterproof disposable cameras (for $8 at Wal-Mart). The camera didn't take many good pictures, and it cost almost $15 for it to get developed. This didn't make me miss using film. The crappy disposable camera only had 27 exposures on it, so I ended up paying about a dollar for picture, and all the shots were grainy.

I will share one of the shots from the crappy disposable camera. This was taken shortly after we started our float, when we had stopped to swim some in the river. A strange river convoy passed by us - it was a guy, laying on a raft next to a canoe. The canoe only had a dog sitting inside it, like it was the captain of the ship. Both the dog and the guy seemed to enjoy the trip:

We took our time and lazily drifted down the river. While it was hot, I didn't seem to feel it while being on the river. Although I ended up getting an awful sunburn, it was a perfect day on the Buffalo River. I was sad when we eventually reached the end of the float (we were out of beer, anyways).

On Sunday we packed up the campsite and parted ways. I headed back home towards Little Rock, but did stop along the way to get a shot of a barn. This was taken right off of Hwy. 65, near Leslie:

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